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After squaring the blank in the vise, Cut the top plane until it is just cleaned up all

the way across.

Then flip it over in the vise, and make a few passes over the bottom "feet", so you
can hold it securely in the vise.
Then lay it on it's side, with the bolt catch side up, and decide where the pivot pin
hole should be. Make sure all the features will be where they need to be. There
are no pictures of this step, sorry. Really not much to it, though. Next use a
center drill to start the hole, followed by a standard drill.
Finish up the pivot pin hole with a reamer.
Here is another shot of reaming the pivot pin hole.
Leaving the part in the vise so you don't lose the center of the hole you just made,
dial over to the hole for the mag catch. Start the hole with a center drill,
Then drill the hole with a standard drill.
Follow up with a reamer as above, then move on to the hole for the bolt catch
plunger, the hammer pin, the trigger pin, safety and finally the takedown pin.
Please note that all are through holes except the one for the bolt catch plunger. It's
a blind hole.
Normally the next step would be to mill the slot for the mag catch and the bolt
catch, without disturbing the setup. Right now though, here is how to remove the
forging seams.
Then its time to clean the area up a little with some abrasive cloth.
Do the same steps in the trigger area.
Set up the blank to work on the buffer end of the receiver.
Make a few passes with the endmill. This is an action shot, if you look closely you
can see chips flyin'!
Here the lower is cut to the correct length.
Then find the centerline, using an edge finder. Locate the center of the hole for the
buffer tube, and start it with a center drill. Then open up the hole gradually, using
larger drills progressing to endmills. Finish up with a 1 1/8" endmill, and the hole is
ready to be threaded. Dial over to the stock locating hole, and cut that to size and
depth. This entire procedure is complicated by the fact that you may have to move
the table out of the way to change tooling. There is not enough clearance with the
part set up this way to get endmills or bits in and out. Gotta keep track of backlash,
to get the part back where it belongs. This is one of the challenges of working with
such a small machine. DROs would have simplified things here, so they may be
added at some point. A milling machine with a knee would have been even better.
There isnt a picture with the actual cutting of this area. Here is the area with the
holes cut.
Normally now is when you should thread the hole for the buffer tube, but well
move on and come back to that later. Flip the forging over to cut the opening for
the front upper lug, and clamp it to the angle plate. This angle plate can be bought
from Grizzly. Here's the setup...
Then locate the edge of the forging, using an edgefinder.
From the edge, dial over to the centerline of the forging. Be sure to lock the x axis
of the table.
Using a 1/2" endmill, make repeated passes in the y axis.
The depth of cut has to be small with the part set up this way, to get an accurate
cut. If not, the setup flexes and you get a ragged edge on the "ears". Here the cut
is passing thru the hole for the pivot pin.
A little more and we'll be where we want to be.
Keep going until the forging seam is removed from the front of the magwell. The
picture makes it look like a deep cut, but it's really just level with the surrounding
Use a bench vise to blend the front of the magwell.
A little abrasive cloth, and this area is finished.
Bolt the vise back onto the table, and adjust it until its square. On we go.
Clamp the forging, top plane up, and check it for squareness as well. That's a 1
1/4" mill in the spindle, and we're ready to cut the top plane to the correct height.
And here it is, cut to height. This is one area that you might like to leave a little on
the plus side of the tolerance, so you can fit it to the upper for a rock hard fit.
Ok, time for the magwell. This is the hardest, most time consuming part of the
project. Regular length drill bits are a stretch. Not much shank left to hold in the
chuck. You can get some extra long "aircraft" drill bits. They are longer than
needed, so cut them down by 1 1/2". Here's a picture, left to right are aircraft bit,
cutdown aircraft bit, jobber length bit, center bit and an old paintbrush. What the
heck is that doing there?
Back on the machine - need to find where to cut. Start by finding the centerline of
the pivot pin hole. Insert a center drill (dia.0.250) into the pivot pin hole and use
an edgefinder to find it's centerline.
Then dial over and use the edgefinder to locate the edge of the forging.
Put a center drill in the chuck, and after calculating where you want the hole, start
cutting. Using a little lubricant, seems to make the holes cleaner.
After the center drill, switch to a standard drill. Only go half way with this.
Back the drill out frequently to clear chips. With a drill this small, there isn't much
room for them to escape. Use a paintbrush to sweep them out of the flutes as the
bit comes up. Oh yeah, that's why the paintbrush was in that other picture.
When the hole is half way done, switch to the aircraft bit. The entire hole could be
done with the longer bit, but use the shortest tool you can. The shorter the tool,
the stiffer it is. Same routine; drill, clear chips, on and on.
One done, seven to go.
Here's all 8 holes completed.
Here is a diagram of the Boss dimensions:
Start by center drilling a hole, and opening it up to 1/2". This gives you a place to
work from without having to plunge the endmills.
Now start roughing the opening with a 1/2" endmill. You can scribe lines on the
upper surface to give you some idea where you are without having to keep track on
the dials. A DRO would be a help here, too. The lines aren't for absolute accuracy,
just to keep from cutting too far. Here we are about an half an inch in.
Deeper and deeper, just keep plowing out the metal. Here we're about halfway
The regular length endmill was about at it's max depth of cut, so switched to a long
cutter, and kept on digging. Here the cutter has just broken through the bottom.
Even with a long endmill, the depth gets a little dicey. Gonna need to switch to the
extra long endmill.
The amount of chips that have to be removed is amazing. You may have to stop
every few passes and vacuum them away to keep the forging from being buried.
After finishing the roughing, it's time to take the opening to final dimension. Find
the centerline again, and cut the opening to size with a 1/4" mill. There will be a
mismatch on the radius in the corners, but we'll fix that later. The 1/4" mill will not
reach all the way to the bottom, so just go a little over halfway deep.
When you get the top side to size, flip the forging over and cut the bottom to size.
We're getting closer....
A little time with a file to clean up the corners, and this is how it'll look. Still some
machine marks left to remove, and a few more cuts to make. Those broached
forgings are starting to look pretty good right about now.
Here's the lower with an evil mag.
And a close-up view. Whew, it's all downhill from here...
Clamp the forging in the vise, and get it all squared up.
Then find the center of the takedown pin hole.
Then make a shallow cut around the hole to allow the "head" of the takedown pin to
sit flush. I think this is called spot facing, but I may be wrong. The blueprint
doesn't show a dim for this that I can find, but it's there on factory lowers. Use a
7/16ths endmill for this.
From there dial over to the mag release button. A long 5/16" endmill is used here.
The slot is only slightly wider than the endmill, so a little manipulation of the table
is needed to get it to the right size. Don't lose your place, you're gonna need to go
back to the center of this hole in a minute.
The center of the hole is cut deeper, to create a step in the slot. This picture is
illustrating the step, or at least it's supposed to. It is tough getting a clear picture
that showed this.
Change over to a 1/2" endmill, and crank over to the grip area. It needs to be
taken down in thickness and cut up and over. It is easiest to take down the
thickness first, then make the cuts in the other two planes. Here is a shot just
before the chips started flying.
Double check your work when you get close to the final dimension. A mistake here
would be pretty much cosmetic, but glaring.
This is a shot of the area finished up.
The fence is cut to .145 from the center of the pivot pin hole. The pivot pin lug is
.272 wide. Here's a picture of the setup for cutting the area.
Here it is cut to size. Sorry, the picture is poor.
The next hole is the rear trigger guard hole. Center drill, followed up by a regular
Next, ream it to size.
Same routine on the front hole, only it doesn't go all the way thru. Halfway is
Flip the forging over in the vise and square it up, as usual. The two stops by the
safety get done first. This isn't on the blueprint, but remove half of them. Take a
look at a factory lower and you'll see what I mean.
Here they are cut down.
Then cut the pistol grip area same as the other side.
Next to cut is the slot for the mag catch.
Then cut the slot for the bolt catch.
I have as much fun building as shooting. A little more work done tonight, so here's
the pics. We are gonna finish up the large radius at the rear of the upper plane.
The limited size of the minimill makes this challenging. I removed the vise and
clamped the forging down on the table. The ugly clamp bar in the picture is
surprisingly versatile. I actually did my first forging without a vise, just clamping
with this bar. Here's the setup.
To get the head of the mill close enough to the table, youll have to remove the
couterbalance arm. If you do this, make sure the head is locked. Its a heavy
sucker, and will come crashing down if you don't. Here's a picture with the 1 1/2"
cutter getting ready to do it's thing.
Here is the end result.
We might as well tap the buffer tube hole. A good way to do this would be to
secure the tap in the spindle and tap by hand. Bridgeport owners could no doubt
do this. Another good way would be to use a lathe with a long enough bed to hold
the tap in the headstock and tap by hand. The minimill is not suited to this type of
work, due to it's relatively small size. I wanted to do the entire project on the mini,
however, so I came up with an alternate method. Real machinists are going to
cringe when they see this, but I have done several with excellent results. Here's
the "tapping equipment".
Here it is setup and ready to tap. The large bar has a hole that just allows the tap
to pass thru, with almost no play. It takes a while to setup and get everything
aligned perfectly.
Here's a close up of the tap.
Here's a shot of the tapping almost done. Use plenty of lubricant, and back the tap
up every half turn or so to break up the chips.
With the buffer area tapped, it's starting to look like a real AR15 receiver.
Lets start finishing up the bottom side. With the lower flipped in the vise, start by
finding the centerline. Install a 7/16" endmill and get ready to cut the channel for
the trigger guard.
It's easier to do the rear and then move up to the front (or vise versa).
With the back leg cut to depth, we can move up to the front leg and do the same
Here they are both done. Damn, it's hard to take flash pictures of shiny aluminum.
Another area to complete is the bevel in the magwell opening. To cut this, use an
82 degree countersink. This really should be held in a 1/4" collet, not the drill
chuck. The lower edge of the magwell needs to be level, so the forging has to be
shifted in the vise. Use a small level to speed up the setup, then make final
adjustments with an indicator.
To get a nice smooth finish, the depth of cut has to be small. This is not the most
stable setup, and chatter will be a problem if you try to hog the metal off. Don't
forget to use lube. This is an in-progress shot.
Here is the cut completed.
Finish up this area off by removing the remaining forging seam, and smoothing the
area up with some abrasive cloth. Here it is...
Pistol grip area - Start by trimming the rear of the grip mounting area to size. Here
is the setup.
Here is the end result.
With the forging on end, now is a good time to drill the takedown detent hole.
Once again, this stretches the limits of the minimill. With the drill chuck in place,
space becomes an issue. Maybe a smaller chuck would solve this, but remove the
stop and crank the head up higher. If you try this, be careful that you don't go too
far and disengage the head from the rack. This is about as high as you can go, and
leaves just enough room underneath.
Find the location for the hole, and start with a center drill.
Then finish the hole with a drill. The hole size is .093", just drill with a 3/32" bit
and skip the reamer.
By turning the forging in the setup, we are ready to drill the bolt catch hole. A long
aircraft length bit is needed here. No reamer was used because its hard /
impossible to find a reamer long enough to do this hole, so don't ream it.
There's no way to get a center drill in here. To keep the bit from wandering,
measure and center punch here. If you don't, the drill bit is almost certain to
wander off the slanted edge of the boss. Here it is done.
Flip the forging over, and use an edgefinder to locate the hole for the pivot pin
And back to the routine; center drill followed by regular drill. Here it is done.
Collets would be a solution for the height problem using the mini-mill, but would
require a LOT of collets for all the different sized bits used. No doubt they exist.
Yup, the pivot pin detent relief hole is there. Not sure it serves any purpose, since
they have been done without and never had ill effects. Here's the shot of cutting
that hole.
Then flip the forging up, and start cutting the fire control area. Done here using a
1/2" endmill, and the cut ends up just over .500. If you want a tighter fit, you
should use a 7/16" endmill and make multiple passes to arrive at whatever
dimension you want. Here is a shot just after starting the cut.
This shot shows the cut about half way done. The rear portion is going to be left as
a shelf, so don't take the whole thing to full depth.
With a 7/16" endmill, open the area up to spec. You will also need to adjust the
radius on the rear of the slot. Just be careful not to make it too wide. The
blueprint wasnt followed exactly, it was adjusted it to make it easier to machine.
Here it is finished up.
Another shot of the same area.
While we are in this area, it's a good time to cut the slot for the bolt catch.
Trim the top of the buffer area. There is an angled cut on the rear edge of this
area, but you can cut that by hand and blend the area. Just looks better.
The buffer detent hole is drilled next. The head of the mill could be tilted 6
degrees, but then would need to be re-trammed. Instead, tilt the forging in the
vise, and set the angle with a protractor.
Flip it over, and drill the hole for the safety detent.
Then cut the slot for the trigger.
Tilt the forging in the vise again and drill and tap the hole for the grip screw.

Here is the finished product, with a few parts installed for a test fit. This has been
a really enjoyable project.
You could cut the entire fire control well with a 1/2" mill. However, to get the .218"
radius called out in the print, you are going to need the 7/16" mill.

A 1/2" endmill used for the rear takedown pin does leave you at the upper end of
the tolerance, but still within spec. Use a 7/16 mill if you are going to use this
lower with an existing upper. In this case, a machined upper will be used and well
be able to fit the size of the lugs to the slot.
A few guys have asked me to put together a list of tools to complete a 0% forging.
Here's what I use:

Regular Endmills-Buy an assorted set. I use the 20 piece set from LMS.COM. I also
got a 5/32" endmill from Enco, it's not in the sets.

Long Endmills-5/16", 7/16" and 1/2" These are not a necessity, but make it easier.
Enco has these.

Large Endmills-These came in a 6 piece set from Grizzly. Sizes from 3/4" to 1 1/2".

Collets and Endmill Holders-If you get the Large Endmill set from Grizzly, you'll
need a 3/4" collet. LMS has these. A 1/2" endmill holder comes in handy, but it's
not required. LMS again. The collets that came with the minimill were fine for the
rest of the work.

Drill Bits-A good quality set from Home Depot, sizes from 1/16" to 1/2" by 16ths. A
few long ones are nice to have, I used "aircraft length" bits sizes 3/32" and 1/8".
These are available from Enco.

Reamers-Must haves are 3/8", 1/4" and 5/32". Nice to have are 1/8", 13/64", and
5/16". I use all these. You could get a 3/32", if you wanted to ream the detent
holes. I didn't bother. Grizzly and Enco have these.

Countersink-I used a 5/8" 82degree countersink, Vermont American brand. Got

this at Lowe's.

Angle Plate-Used to clamp the lower upright on the table, 6"x5"x5" size from

Buffer Tap-1 3/16" x16, sourced thru Enco.

Lubricant-On a friends recommendation, I mixed up a gallon of kerosene with 1/2 a

quart of ATF. Cheap and available at the gas station on the corner.

That's about it for stuff bought specifically for this project. Centerfinders, clamps,
parallels and measuring tools like calipers and mics are things you will need no
matter what project you want to tackle, so I didn't include them in the list. Files,
sandpapers and the like are things I am guessing everybody reading this has, so
they got left off as well.

Of course, you are gonna need a blueprint, unless you have all the dimensions
memorized. Ulfrikr is offering these for a nice price. I printed out my own and
laminated them; keeps 'em nice in the shop.